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Report: Cubs have informed teams they won’t be trading Cody Bellinger

With Chicago climbing up the NL Wild Card standings of late, the team has reportedly opted against becoming sellers ahead of the trade deadline.

Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on July 23, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

What was already shaping up to be a seller’s market ahead of the 2023 trade deadline got even more so on Sunday, as reports have surfaced that the Chicago Cubs don’t plan on moving start outfielder Cody Bellinger.

Less than two weeks ago, the Cubs sat at 43-50, mired in a distant third place in the NL Central and losers of three of four to start the second half of the season. Despite several promising stretches over the first three months, they seemed pretty far from meaningful playoff contention, always following one step forward with two steps back. That, naturally, led to increased speculation that Chicago would look to sell at the trade deadline — particularly Bellinger and Marcus Stroman, each of whom is set to hit free agency this winter.

In the days since, though, the Cubs have become arguably the hottest team in baseball. Chicago took the first three games of their four-game set against the rival St. Louis Cardinals this weekend, running their winning streak to eight in a row and 10 of 11. Suddenly, this team isn’t even on the fence; they now find themselves in the thick of the postseason chase, just three games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the loss column in the NL Central and two back of the division-rival Cincinnati Reds for the third and final NL Wild Card spot. They’ve always had enough talent — the on-paper roster has never been in question, and their run differential is far better than their 53-51 record suggests — and they’re getting hot at just the right time.

Selling, in other words, is off the table, as GM Jed Hoyer and Co. owe it to this roster (and not to mention Cubs fans) to at the very least not pull the plug. Which means that Bellinger — and, one presumes, Stroman — aren’t going anywhere, at least not for the next two or three months. Bellinger has been the team’s best position player when healthy this year, finding some of his old MVP magic en route to a .315/.368/.540 slash line to go with 15 homers and 12 steals across 73 games. He’s also a very solid defender capable of manning all three outfield spots, making him one of the most tantalizing names out there as the deadline neared.

What remains to be seen is whether, or how aggressively, Chicago will become buyers over the next couple of days. This team has a glaring hole at first base and could really use some depth in their rotation and bullpen, but given how inconsistent they’ve been over the season’s first four months it would be understandable if the front office didn’t feel comfortable blowing up the farm for 2023. Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron and relievers like Kansas City’s Scott Barlow remain potential fits.